The Department of Justice may bring federal charges against the illegal immigrant acquitted in the murder of Kate Steinle, according to a new report.
Fox News reported that the DOJ is considering an option to prosecute Jose Ines Garcia Zarate in federal court for the 2015 death. A jury in San Francisco found Garcia Zarate not guilty of murder, manslaughter, and assault charges Thursday, although he was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Garcia Zarate had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation back to Mexico at the time of Steinle's death, which occurred on a pier. Prosecutors argued that Garcia Zarate intentionally fired the weapon and killed Steinle, while the defense said it was an accidental shooting.
DOJ officials told Fox News Garcia Zarate could now be tried in federal court.
San Francisco's status as a sanctuary city, which means it does not enforce all federal immigration laws, was exploited after the death and during the trial.
President Donald Trump referenced the incident while arguing for a border wall and to spotlight sanctuary cities during the presidential campaign.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions reacted to Thursday's verdict in a statement, saying sanctuary cities put Americans at risk.
"San Francisco's decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle," Sessions said. "While the State of California sought a murder charge for the man who caused Ms. Steinle's death — a man who would not have been on the streets of San Francisco if the city simply honored an ICE detainer — the people ultimately convicted him of felon in possession of a firearm.
"I urge the leaders of the nation's communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers."
Trump ripped Thursday's verdict in a series of Twitter posts:
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